After the success of the original Everspace, the team at Rockfish Games is back once again with Everspace 2. This time around the roguelike mechanics are gone, replaced with a mixture of light action RPG and looter shooter elements. Which made my time writing this Everspace 2 review all the more enjoyable. Please note there are minor spoilers for the end of the first game ahead.
Everspace 2 picks up sometime after the first ended. Hero, the main protagonist, is back and this time is going by his original name, Adam Roslin. After having his DNA completely restored and his lifespan fully expanded, he’s determined to keep a low profile. Which doesn’t quite work as well as he’d planned. I wouldn’t say that knowledge of the previous game is vital to enjoy playing, but knowing what happened does enhance the experience.
Some of the backstory is touched upon during gameplay, gently filling new players in. A host of new side characters act as a way for Adam to recount the tale of his life so far. The dialogue can be a little stiff, unfortunately. There are log entries too, if new players are fully committed to having some exposition being dumped on them. In short, I think the story and main character are definitely the weakest parts of the game.
A fun and flashy adventure
Gameplay-wise, each usable ship is nimble and responsive. Thanks to the various boosters, they can all zip along at a variety of speeds. The slowest speed is fine for traversing short distances around the various asteroids and derelict ships. Conversely, the highest speed helps players warp speed their way between different highlighted points of the map. Many of those aforementioned highlighted sections have tasks to uncover and complete. These include ship battles, fetch quests and destroying-a-thing-type tasks. There are also several light environmental puzzles to solve. All enjoyable stuff.
The ships themselves are highly customizable with each one being of a certain class. A selection of weapons can be equipped, most of which are designed for use in a rock-paper-scissors matchup. The ships can also be furnished with several equipable tools to further diversify playstyles. As with many looter shooters, taking the time to periodically update your loadout is highly recommended. All this culminates into a strong experience, at least mechanically.
Mostly smooth sailing
I found my playtime to be mostly bug-free, aside from one incident. Thanks to a navigation error on my part, I ended up being stuck up against a large celestial body. It was also like its gravitational pull had caught me and wouldn’t let go. In the end, after some boosting and finessing my way around, I was finally able to escape.
Overall, this sequel is a fun time. The variety of ship types, gadgets and weapons on offer help the combat feel fresh. This is lucky, as space dogfighting is the main thing Everspace 2 has going for it. A space sim this ain’t, but if you are in the mood for some flashy arcade space battles then this may be the game for you.
I personally found the lack of roguelike elements in Everspace 2 to be extremely fresh, as this is something that put me off the original. Even better, Rockfish Games has managed to weave a story around those changed mechanics, making them work canonically. I commend Rockfish Games for going off in a different direction in their latest space-themed endeavour.